Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Chess: Second Victory

I played my second tournament game today. What a great game! I was black and my opponent came on strong with an attack which I probably should have fended off earlier. Nonetheless I was stuck and had to do some considerable thinking in order to defend myself.

Once I had fended off the attack, my counter-attack began. It was going well, until my opponent made a mistake and I captured the queen. After that, the white side started
to collapse and in the end I got a point for the game.

This puts me at the top of the standings, although with so many more games to come, and four more for me, anything can happen. However, I'm feeling confident and will play well for my remaining four games.

To see the standings and game results, click the chess image at the top right.

Check Check!


Monday, January 30, 2006

Chess: First Victory

I had my first tournament game today at lunch, and won! I made an early gain by capturing a bishop, and cutting off the King's ability to castle. I made a couple of small mistakes which delayed my win (in fact, one nearly cost me the game), but I held on and was successful in the end.

This moves me into the group of four people who have won their first game. It may not look like anything special, but it means that anyone with a loss has to win two games to get ahead of me, assuming I lose the next one. And since each player only has 6 games, it's important to win at least 5/6 in order to guarantee a top spot and move into the elimination round. Click the chess picture at the top right to see the tournament blog.

There were two other games played as well, so things are finally getting off to a good start. I'm looking forward to playing the rest of my games, and seeing how others in the tournament do.



Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chess Tournament

I've organized a chess tournament at work with twelve co-workers, and set up a blog to track the results. It's a self scheduled tournament, and will take place over February and March. You can bookmark the link, or just click on the chess image at the top right to see the current standing and see how well I'm doing.

Chess Tournament Link


Friday, January 27, 2006

Tulips For Tasha

Natasha's been sick with the flu for a couple of days but is starting to feel a lot better today. On my way home today, I thought I'd bring her a little something nice:

When I bought them, they were outside and all closed up. After about an hour of being inside, they'd opened up nicely and look beautiful.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Now That's A Coupon!

Okay, been much too serious lately all this politics and world events. Must have something fun. How about this! What's the biggest coupon you've ever received in one of those coupon packages?

I was impressed until I saw it was for real estate services which in todays market might cost in the range of $21,000 for the sale of a house.


Saying It Like It Is

Seems like so many people (especially here in Canada) hate George Bush. Why? I'm not sure, but most of the reasons I've heard don't really seem like valid answers. "He's stupid", for example, but can someone really get to be President by being stupid? I don't think so. "He looks like a monkey" is another one. Okay okay, maybe he does. But what do looks matter? =) This isn't a beauty contest, it's the top job in the country.

One thing I truly respect about George Bush is that he is strong enough to take a stand on an issue, and not be afraid to let the world know what that stand is.

The Palestinians recently had an election where Hamas won a large number of seats. The USA and UK both consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

What does President Bush have to say about it? Click here:

President says it like it is!

Watch it all, it's great.


"Walk for Life" March and Counter-Demonstration

This link is to a photo report on the "Walk for Life" march in San Fransisco recently, and the counter-demonstration. The whole thing is shocking really. The march is against abortion, and it attracted a massive group of protestors who obviously have much hate for the march and the people involved.

Please be warned, there are a few pictures with signs of the protestors with bad language. However, it's what really happened there and is displayed as is. Oh yeah, and for those of you who know I love taking pictures at rallies, these are not my pictures.

"Walk for Life" March and Counter-Demonstration

I only wish I'd have such photo opportunities where I live!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Election: The Day After

Tuesday, January 24, 2006... the first day in 13 years that we've had a Conservative government. Last night was a whirlwind tour of voting, working, and watching the election results, trying to keep on top of the numbers, names, speeches, etc.

Today is a whole new day, and people have had some time to think about what's happened. I've also thought about it, and am quite pleased with the outcome. The country has punished the Liberal party for their abuse of power, and it will give the Conservatives a chance to prove to Canada that they are an acceptable option. So many people think that a Conservative government is unthinkable, and yet the country has made that very decision. Perhaps with some good decision making and good leadership, they will be able to gain the trust and respect of more Canadians.

I am outraged, however, by a headline I saw on a couple of newspapers this morning: "The West Is In". I don't know who said it or the details behind it, but I think it's shameful to have such an attitude. Many people in the West vote Liberal and it's not because they want an East Canada party, it's because their values match those of the Liberal Party. The Conservatives are not a Western party, they just have more support from that half of the country. I fully expect them to help all regions of Canada equally.

I've arrived at work early today, and not many people are here yet, but they will soon, and there are sure to be some great discussions on last night's results.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Election 2006 Results

Conservative Liberal NDPBloc Other
124 103 29 51 1
Final Result: Conservative Minority Government

Leaders and Other Noted Candidates
Paul Martin Elected
Stephen Harper Elected
Jack Layton Elected
Gilles Duceppe Elected
Belinda Stronach Elected


Time to shut things down and get to bed. I just watched Stephen Harper give his speech, and I'm making one last update to the blog. Stephen Harper is an excellent speaker and I hope he accomplishes good things for all of Canada.

I had specially noted Belinda Stronach in the list of candidates because she moved from the Conservative party to the Liberals, and I was interested to see if she was re-elected.

CBC reports that Paul Martin will be resigning as the leader of the Liberal party. I suppose it's hard to continue as the leader of the party, now sitting on the opposite side of the house.

That's it for now. Interesting day in Canadian history!


Correction from an hour ago. The Green Party didn't win a seat, they just showed up on the board as being in the lead in a riding. Still, it's progress for their party and shows that they're making an impact at some level.

Almost all the polls have now reported so we're seeing the numbers as they will most likely remain. I'm not seeing anything on the leader's of the parties although I'm pretty certain they've all won their own ridings. Paul Martin came back from behind and is being re-elected.


The polls have just closed in British Columbia and already they are predicting the final result... a Conservative minority government. To be honest, it's a little disappointing that the West side of Canada has so little impact on the outcome of the election.

In other news, the Green Party has taken the first seat in the party history.

The numbers keep bouncing back and forth and it'll be hours yet before the final numbers are in. At this point I'm going to wait to see what happens further west before updating the seat count.

Also, I'm going to try to find out what's happening in the leader's ridings, and Belinda Stronach. Last report they gave showed Paul Martin behind in votes.


The polls start closing in about 30 minutes on the East coast. It will be three hours before the media begins broadcasting results. I'm heading home to eat supper and do a few things before all the action starts.

As the evening progresses, I will add updates to this post, so check back once or twice, and again tomorrow for more!


We Voted!

I went down to the voting station on the way to work. I went in first and got in the very short line. Natasha thought she wouldn't be allowed to vote because she'd moved here from New Brunswick in the fall. However, she started talking with the voting officials, and found out she qualified! So, she went to another desk where she filled out the necessary forms, and was able to vote!

The internet is buzzing with excitement and articles about the election and the possible results. The polls close in four hours on the East coast and while it's illegal to broadcast election results before all polls are closed, there may still be a way to get information before that. More on that later...

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Get Out And Vote, Canada!

Today is a big day in Canada, a Federal Election! Will the Liberals maintain their minority government? Will the Conservatives get a minority? Or will they pull off a huge win and get a small majority government?

I'm looking forward to the results and will be live-blogging a few major points as the numbers come in. Check back a few times throughout the evening (try refreshing the page if you don't see changes).

Get out and vote!


Friday, January 20, 2006

All-You-Can-Eat Japanese

Natasha and I went out with a friend of ours, Mark, for all-you-can-eat Japanese food! The great thing about all-you-can-eat is that you aren't stuck with getting just a few things, you can sample an entire array of food and see what you like.

Unfortunately, I ordered a little too much fish and had to gobble it up myself (the other two ate a few pieces but didn't want more), but the other food was delicious! Turns out everyone was happy and stuffed in the end, and we walked away happy.

We tried some interesting food like the above, Surf Clam and BBQ Eel sushi!

Oh yeah, throw some more chicken and lamb on the BBQ! And some mussels and squid too!

Mmm... gyoza! These porked filled dumplings are amazing!

This is really fun stuff, getting to cook up your own meat, and sampling all kinds of food. I'm thinking we should do this at least a few times a year, maybe get a few friends together now and then and go!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Survived The Dentist Once Again

There was one time a few years ago when I hadn't been to the dentist for five years. Finally I had an appointment booked and went for a check-up. Didn't have a good report and had a bunch of cavities.

Things are better now though, and I'm seeing the dentist at least once a year, usually about every six to nine months.

I still hate going to the dentist, which is kind of silly because every time I get out, I think "wow that was the easiest one yet". I guess we're kind of lucky with the kind of technology around today. Not to mention the TV on the ceiling and remote control in your hand!

Can't wait 'till my next appointment... not really!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Winner: Best Smelling Garbage

This award was presented to us by local animals, who pulled over a garbage can last night, took out a bag, dragged it about 10 meters, then tore part of it open. It was only one bag, which happened to be ours, and which I believe contained some rather tasty smelling garbage. It was only out from late evening until morning. I guess we can't even do that... we'll just have to put it out the morning of pick-up.

I'm unsure what kind of animal it was. The damage seems too little for a bear (last time when it was bears, the bags were ripped completely open, this time only small tears), but it was dragged about 10 meters to get behind the hedge. A racoon perhaps? A cat couldn't drag it so far, and certainly not birds (not even the fat seagulls). Bears should be hibernating right now too, so racoon seems like the most likely suspect.

Federal Election: 7 Sleeps

Only 7 more sleeps 'till the next Canadian Federal Election! We had our first visit today, from the NDP. We weren't home and they just dropped a flyer at our door. Poor Jack, the available "third option"... high hopes but likely to get little results...


Friday, January 13, 2006

Projection: Conservatives Near Majority

It's almost unbelievable, but it seems that with everything that's happened (including a few campaign blunders), the Liberals are sliding further behind and the Conservatives are picking up the slack.

The Globe and Mail has an article that projects the Conservatives will take enough seats to almost get a majority in the House of Commons. That is, if they can make it through the next 10 days without making a blunder of their own, as has been known to happen in the past.

Globe and Mail: Seat projection puts Harper on cusp of majority

I wonder if Belinda Stronach is kicking herself now for switching sides last year...

Rain Rain Rain

As of today, there have been 26 straight days with rain in Vancouver. The current record is 28 days, set back in 1953, and according to weather.ca, it looks like we'll be breaking that record easily and by a number of days at least.

Skiers should be happy though, as the mountains are getting a ton of snow... 30cm last night alone!


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Campaign Ads Heat Up

I heard there were new campaign ads out so I went to check them out. The results? Shocking! Anyone who looks at them objectively can see that there is some serious damage control going on, and some desperate comeback tactics in play. At this point in time, the Conservative party is on an upward swing and have been gaining momentum over the past few weeks. Going into the last stretch of the campaign, things are bound to get nasty.

The Liberal ads are completely on the attack. They say nothing about their own benefits, but concentrate only on scaring people away from the Conservatives. They even mention Bush, and make suggestions that some people in the USA have helped his rise to the top.

Overall, I'm rather disappointed with the very negative spin, and the mundane, repetitive feel to the ads. After seeing them a few times, I'd be changing the channel really quickly.

The Conservatives also have ads on their website, and indeed some of them are designed to attack Paul Martin. However, their feel is less repetitive, and most of the rest of the ads are all focused on the Conservative party and the benefits they feel they will provide.

Here's the links to both. Watch a few and decide for yourself:

Liberal Party TV Ads

Conservative Party TV Ads


Actually, I found the NDP ads to be the most entertaining and clever. For instance, this is what they recommend you give the Liberal Party this year for Christmas:

Related Articles

CBC: Tories lash out at Liberal attack ads

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mail A Letter: $0.51

Postage for a regular letter in Canada is now 51 cents! If you still have a pile of 50 cent stamps, be sure to stop by the post office for a roll of 1 cent stamps to go with it.

I wonder how many people are freaking out at post offices over this massive increase!

Possible Scenario

Customer: "What! 51 cents? You've got to be kidding me, you guys keep ripping us off year after year!"

Postal Worker: "It's only one more cent. Look outside on the street, you'll probably find a penny and make your money back."

Customer: "You dare talk to me like that? I'll never send another letter with Canada Post!!"

Postal Worker: "Okay sir, have fun driving that letter to Ontario yourself for 51 cents."

Customer: *digging in pockets* Okay you win. Here's a penny. But if you dare raise it a penny next year I'm serious, I'm not sending letters with you guys any more!


Monday, January 09, 2006

Canadian Federal Election: 14 days

Nothing much to say about this, just a countdown. I thought I would be more interested (perhaps involved) in this election, but I haven't. I'm just hunkering down, putting in my vote, and hope the end result is what's best for Canada.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Noah Meets Sasquatch

Natasha and I were reading about Noah last night. It also happened that we were talking about the Sasquatch earlier with the family. I know a couple of people who have either seen something like it, or seen very large footprints while hunting.

Natasha pointed out something very interesting. If there really is such thing as the Sasquatch, it must have been on the Ark too!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Yearly Skate At New Years

Our church organizes a skate every year either on New Years Day or the nearest day to it and whoever wants to can show up and skate or play hockey.

Not pictured skating here, but Natasha had a great time, and looked great!

Most people just skated on the regular rink.

Ahhh hockey! Popular sport amongst these guys!

Afterwards we went to Boston Pizza with some friends and shared the Nacho's. All in all, a good evening out and we're all set for getting back to regular work again after the holidays (well, okay, not really).

Can you believe it? No stat holidays for at least three months!

Canadian Federal Election: 21 days

Only three weeks until Canada holds a federal election. Last I heard, polls had the two leading parties (Conservative, Liberal) nearly at the same level.

Should be interesting in any case. I'll be making use of my few hours off of work to put in my vote!

All you Canadians, get out and vote!


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year: 2006!

Happy New Year, everyone! It's been an interesting year with lots of changes all around. Let's remember all the good times, all the lesson's we've learned, leave the bad times behind, and look forward to another exciting year! 2006!